GETTYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA – A group of U.S. military veterans spanning nearly 50 years of service spent Memorial Day weekend developing photography skills in historic Gettysburg through Josephine@Gettysburg, a new and unique program partnership by the photo education nonprofit Josephine Herrick Project, the Gettysburg Foundation, and the National Parks Arts Foundation. The veterans’ work from the weekend will be exhibited in Fall 2017 at the famous Gettysburg Railway Station, where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address, and will then travel to sites in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens, New York.
Josephine@Gettysburg was conceived and organized by photographer Adriana Echavarria Eisenhower, granddaughter of Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower, to celebrate the 75 years of the Josephine Herrick Project’s pioneering rehabilitative programs for disabled military veterans. “I see this as a tribute to the nation’s veterans,” she said. Noting that the American Civil War was the first major conflict to be extensively photographed, allowing civilians around the country to see the carnage of war, she added that bringing today’s veterans to Gettysburg to practice the art of photography was “a way of expressing the profound debt of gratitude that is forever due them.”
Taught by professional photographer Robert Stevens, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, Josephine@Gettysburg brought together six veterans from pre- and post-9/11 conflicts who had already undertaken initial photography training with the Josephine Herrick Project’s Ways of Seeing program with Veterans’ Centers in New York City. As well as staying in historic cottages in the Gettysburg National Military Park, the veterans had a full tour of the battlefields, followed by visits to sites generally not open to the public. These included stops on the Underground Railroad, the farm used as a Civil War hospital, and a private tour of the Eisenhower Farm.
Stevens donated his time and expertise as a photography teacher who has captured the battlefields of Gettysburg many times over the years. The veterans were also treated to a surprise workshop by local artist David Wilson at his Victorian Photography Studio in Gettysburg. He specializes in the wet-plate photographic techniques that were prevalent at the time of the Civil War.
The Gettysburg Foundation (www.gettysburgfoundation.org), in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), enhances the preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg and its national parks. The Foundation focuses its work primarily on the battle of Gettysburg and its context in the American Civil War, as well as President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Assistance is also given to occasionally support the Eisenhower National Historic Site, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s residence in the Gettysburg community.
The National Parks Arts Foundation (www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org) is a nonprofit foundation offering artist-in-residence programs, museum in-loan programs, and workshops in conjunction with America’s National Parks.
About the Josephine Herrick Project
The Josephine Herrick Project is a nonprofit that enlists photographic community volunteers to educate students who have not had the opportunity to learn the communicative power of photography. Through partnerships with local organizations, JHProject’s completely free programs inspire children, teens, adults, veterans and seniors with the visual language of photography, enhancing their abilities to transform communities through artistic vision.